World Facts

Highest Overdose & Drug Related Death Rates In The World

When talking about countries with the highest mortality rate, Iceland takes the number one spot, Estonia in second and the United States in third.

The latest figures of the countries with the highest drug mortality rates are troubling while also indicative of demographic statistics that reveal which countries have higher rates of drug use and of certain more dangerous types of drugs such as opiates. Countries such as Iceland, Estonia, and the United States have the highest mortality rates which indicates that illegal drugs are in high supply and easily obtained while numbers indicate that certain countries such as Asian countries which are producers of vast amounts of more dangerous substances such as Opiates and Cocaine, also have relatively high mortality rates due to the ease in which hard drugs can be obtained. How each country can deal with their individual drug problems depends on certain things such as availability of treatment, law enforcement practices as well as political policies and policy changes that address the problem.

While the United States being one of the countries with the highest mortality rates may not be surprising to many due to its size and the fact that the US’s population is a target for drug cartels that know the citizens of the country have money to spend, the fact that smaller countries such as Iceland and Estonia are high up on the list may be surprising. The fact that mortality rates are high in Iceland and Estonia can be attributed to the fact that both countries and other countries such as Finland have high depression rates among their respective populations. Scandinavian countries have always had high rates of alcoholism that coincides with rates of depression, the winters in such countries are long, and cold and dark which is conducive to the abuse of alcohol and drugs, thus the higher mortality rates in these countries is no mystery.

Iceland may not be an extremely rich country however its citizens on the whole are not living in poverty, the same can be said of the citizens of Finland. However countries such as Estonia have higher crime rates and more people living in poverty which can be conducive to drug use and illegal activity. Russia is also high on the list, the former Soviet Union is known to have lots of corruption issues and many of its borders are near areas and countries that produce large amounts of Opiates and Heroin, such as the countries of Asia and Afghanistan.

The ease by which drugs can be shipped across hundreds of miles of rural borders is favorable to the illicit drug trade. Meanwhile Uruguay and El Salvador’s presence high on the list can also be attributed to demographic and economic facts. A large portion of El Salvador’s population is poor and crime ridden which can be a cause of drug abuse and other societal problems, the country is also geographically located in right smack in the middle of several countries that produce large amounts of Cocaine and are also countries with high crime and poverty rates. The same can be said of Uruguay although its citizens are not as poor as El Salvador.

The factors that evidently are the reason behind the figures of the countries with highest drug mortality rates vary from place to place, country to country and region to region. How the problem can be addressed is different in each country but in every country political action is a necessity as is treatment and the availability of treatment for those who need it. If a country can improve its economy and reduce crime rates while also applying policies that address and enforce illicit drug trafficking and drug use, mortality rates are likely to go down. Ultimately cutting off supply, educating citizens and providing treatment seems to be the means by which to prevent higher rates from occurring and in the long run the best way to lower rates.

Highest Overdose & Drug Related Death Rates In The World

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RankCountries Per Million Inhabitants
1Iceland221.5
2Estonia198.1
3United States190.8
4El Salvador160.9
5Uruguay104.7
6Canada104.5
7Australia88.1
8Finland87.6
9Seychelles81.6
10Russia80.0

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